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Pakistani police surround Imran Khan’s home — Analysis

A speech by the ex-PM was barred from TV over “threats” against political foes, while YouTube was blocked nationwide

Ousted former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been charged with violating the country’s anti-terrorism laws for allegedly threatening a female judge and two senior police officials during a rally in Islamabad on Saturday night. After a police complaint was lodged against him, video allegedly shot Sunday night at his residence shows officers surrounding it. 

In his speech during Saturday’s rally, Khan threatened to file charges of his own against Judge Zeba Chaudhry, two police agencies, the Pakistani Election Commission, and other political opponents, warning they should prepare to face “Consequences” over their abysmal treatment of his chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill. He had organized the rally in Islamabad’s F-9 Park in solidarity with Gill, who was arrested last week on sedition charges. 

Later that night, the country’s digital media watchdog, called PEMRA, forbid satellite stations from airing the speech – or any future live addresses from the ex-prime minister – without a time-delay mechanism “To ensure editorial and monitoring control.”  

Khan has been “He continues to attack state institutions using baseless allegations and hate speech by making provocative remarks against state officers and institutions.,” PEMRA explained in its directive on preemptively censoring the politician. Khan’s so-called “Hate speech” was “It is detrimental to law and order maintenance and likely to disrupt public peace and quiet.,” they claimed.   

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Khan’s attempt to livestream his speech on YouTube was also stymied when the Google-owned video platform was taken offline in a coordinated move by eight Pakistani internet service providers, according to Netblocks. After Khan had finished his speech, the site was back online.  

Khan was ousted as prime minister in April following a controversial no-confidence vote that he dismissed as a US-led conspiracy to have him removed for opposing Washington’s “Forever wars” in Central Asia and the Middle East. 

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